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Monday, November 8, 2010

MUSIC: Deep Dive Focus on Waltkeys - Sandy Demina Reporting...

walt real life
Staff Reporter
• Monday, November 08, 2010
Walter Runge ( ) is a seasoned RL musician, but he's quite new in SL where he prefers to use his stage name in RL:WaltKeys Faith.

Born in Brooklyn NY, he's lived in the US from New York to Alaska: St Louis Missouri, Dallas Texas, San Francisco CA, and he has been camping and hiking in several other states in the US.

He's a composer, a painter, an artist at large, first and foremost a student, and finally a teacher.
He plays Jazz piano because he says Jazz encompasses any style of music. As he writes music, he draws from years of experience playing rock, funk, blues, swing, and latin styles. He's been performing since he was 14 years old ,that would be 36 years now,
touring in Japan and travelling all over in the world.He definitely needs to be in the woods or right in the middle of town,there's no middle of the road for this kid!

Walt is always looking for ways to communicate through art. In music, that means writing songs and learning to freely improvise while playing music. He believes that his ability to play piano is a gift from God. Walt says "There is no way to describe the process of writing music when God sends a song through me. They are the best compositions, without a doubt. I still mess around with them a bit, but each song is a gift.Oscar Wilde's preface to the book Dorian Grey is perhaps one of the most poignant articulations of the artists' perspective on living."

I asked him to describe his own style and he responded "When you play a song, you cannot burden yourself with analysis: what genre is it? is it right for the audience? is it too fast, too slow? is my zipper down? There is only one question you can ask while you are playing a song: how's it feel?"

Actually Walt has played during his life every style of music at one time or another, so inside the music he writes all of those styles come into play. He tells how he enjoyes playing in a gospel church in Philadelphia and, at the same time in a rock band in a blues group and in several jazz bands. "I create with one principle in mind: Allow yourself to be influenced by everything around you. That doesn't mean you have to adopt everything as part of your life, but you can allow that inspiration to become a part of what you create. That goes for everyone, not just artists!".

Walt has also recorded piano, organ and keyboards for these Philadelphia artists:Georgie Bonds(blues), Deb Callahan, (blues rock), Randy Lippincott, (blues n soul).

He released a Compilation CD featuring the music of the Burlap Palace, in Atlanta (GA),Acoustic Groove Project
Live at Warmdaddy's jazz, The Dukes of Destiny, blues, rock n soul.

When I asked him what influenced his style, he responded me that an artist must allow himself or herself to influenced by everything around them. "Nature is my inspiration and sanctuary. God's world as he created it is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Beauty. No matter how I try to get nasty down and dirty when I write music, it always comes out sounding pretty! "

He considers his talent as a gift of music to work with. "No matter how tired I get-Walt says- I am obliged to use that gift to inspire others and bring something beautiful into this world. I could have stayed in Alaska and lived outside of human culture, the "human game" as I see it. But I decided to come back to the "lower 48", the continental US, so I could play music for people"
Walt's favourite quote is: "The opposite of war is not peace, it is creation" (Mark from the show, RENT by Jonathan Larson).

Such an open minded artist had of course to bump into Second Life:in his case the link has been Trowzer Boa aka Dave Renz who's been performing inworld for about four years now. He and Walt work together in RL, playing jazz. Since they both write music, Trowzer suggested him that Second Life virtual stages could be a way to promote their music.

Furthermore , Walt has in mind to return in Italy,that he visited a couple years ago; he's got the dream to perform there in Real Life: this is the reason why he's planning an all italian tour inworld.
By the way,you'll see them soon together in SL in a group called ~ 2N2, two humans and two not-so-humans JAMMIN' the tunes!

When I asked him if SL could be a valid showcase for his RL works, he responded me that he does prefer to perform inworld, because, unlike clubs in the US, platforms like SL are visited by people who really want to hear music or see something specific. "In Second Life I may play for 20 or 30 people who truely wish to listen to what I am playing. In clubs in the US, there may be 12 people there, but only three of them are really listening to the music. Going out to a club is not as popular in the US as it was 10 years ago. I will spend my money on travel and meeting people. Many americans would rather buy something with that money and stay at home and play with their new toy. "

Walt plays some big concerts now and then but, as he says,unfortunately even the theatres and concert venues are not what they used to be. "Unless you are backed and promoted by a huge record company, there is little hope for regional, national or international exposure. When I tour in Japan, the clubs are filled to the brim. People go out on a friday night right after work. They will have dinner and see a concert. That is reserved for very special occasions in the US nowadays. The internet provides venues for what I call "ruthless self-promotion"!".

Since Walt has a limited time he prefers to spend his time inworld meeting with the Italian artists that frequent Second Life:he has a deep passion for italian literature and he tries to use the virtual platform to practice the italian language and culture.
He is sure that Second Life will last as long as people support it and not corrupt it:definitley we share his opinion!

WaltKey's only CD, Il Marinaio is available for sale
His website  is another great way to see what he's doing.
His paintings are featured on


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